Time running out for Warriors

HARARE - Time is running out for the Warriors’ preparations for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group L home match against Guinea on September 5.

The Warriors are without a coach following Calisto Pasuwa’s resignation earlier this month over unpaid salaries by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).

Zifa earlier this week held talks with Pasuwa’s manager Gilbert Mahachi but there was no solution to the deadlock.

As of yesterday, there was still no end to the saga with only 14 days before the Syli Nationale visit the National Sports Stadium.

“At the moment we have not heard anything from Zifa and we are just waiting to see if they come back with an offer,” said Mahachi.

According to Fifa statutes, all national associations have at least 14 days to notify clubs whether they want to call up their players for national duty.

What this means is that whoever is going to be in charge of the Warriors against Guinea is likely not to be able to call up Zimbabwe’s foreign-based players.

Most foreign clubs are very particular about the period of notice and are likely to refuse to release their players if Zifa make requests short of this 14-day notice. 

Another worry for Zimbabwe is that most of the players present in the squad for the last match against Malawi are also accredited to be with the Young Warriors in Congo Brazzaville for the African Games starting on September 3.

When Zimbabwe beat Malawi 2-1 in their first match in Group L, goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, fullbacks Blessing Moyo and Ronald Pfumbidzai, midfielder Kuda Mahachi and striker Marvellous Nakamba all played in Blantyre.

Goalkeeper Donovan Bernard, midfielders Gerald Takwara, Wisdom Mutasa and defender Teenage Hadebe also travelled with the senior team to Blantyre.

These players constitute the Young Warriors squad going to the African Games.

This means they will not be available for the home tie against Guinea. 

While there seems to be inertia at Zifa, since Thursday most African national coaches have been naming their squads for next month’s qualifying matches.

Guinea’s coach Luis Fernandez named a strong 20-man squad for the trip to Harare yesterday.

The 55-year-old former France international called up all his big guns for the Warriors clash as the Syli Nationale hope to bounce back from the shock 2-1 defeat to Swaziland in their opening qualifier match in May.

Former AC Milan midfielder Kevin Constant, who is now playing for Turkish side Trabzonspor headlines the Guinea squad.

Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Ibrahima Traore, who caused all troubled Zimbabwe during Guinea’s last visit to Harare in 2013, is also in the squad.

Paul Pogba’s elder brother Florentin, who plays for Ligue 1 side St Etienne in France has also been included in the squad.

Unlike his young brother, who opted to play for their adopted home France, Florentin chose to play for their home country and will be part of Fernandez’s squad coming to Harare.

While Guinea seems to be gearing up for their clash with the Warriors, it is a different case here in Zimbabwe.

Guinea Squad: Naby Yattara (unattached), Keita Abdoul Aziz  (AS Kaloum), Pogba Florentin (Saint Etienne, France), Fode Camara (Horoya AC), Ibrahima Sory Bangoura (Horoya AC), Oumar Diop (Kenitra AC, Morocco), Sylla Issiaga  (Ajaccio, France), Mohamed Diara (Odense, Denmark), Camara Lanfia  (Patro Eisden, Belgium), Kevin Constant (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Aboubacar Fofana (Madeira,  Portugal), Keita Naby (Redbull Sazlburg, Austria), Sekou Keita (Evian Thonon Gaillard,  France), Ibrahima Traore (Monchengladbach, Germany), Soumah Seydouba (Al Qadesyah, Kuwait), Idrissa Sylla (Anderleccht, Belgium), Aboubacar Demba Camara (Gaziantepsor, Turkey), Kamano François (Bastia, France), Mohamed Lamine Yattara (Standard de Liege, Belgium), Alhassane Bangoura (Rayo Vallecano, Spain)

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